Arroyo solid, but Reds still fall to Astros 4-3
Bronson Arroyo had his best outing in more than a month.
He still wasn't able to get the win.
Arroyo, who hasn't won since June 25 at Baltimore, allowed four of his six hits in Houston's three-run second before shutting down the Astros for the next six innings.
The Reds couldn't provide enough offense for Arroyo, and rookie Jose Altuve drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the 10th inning to lift the new-look Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
Arroyo went eight innings, giving up six hits and three runs with three strikeouts. He retired 18 of the next 19 batters he faced after the four second-inning hits, including 12 in a row after a single by Clint Barmes with one out in the fourth.
''I have had my back against the wall a lot lately, and I was trying to survive,'' Arroyo said. ''I was happy to go deep in the ball game and give a chance to win, but it's not any more satisfying. This late in the season and seeing how many games we are back. We need to win these games regardless of how you throw. If you are up by 6 1/2, it's a little different, but right now, it's not good either way.''
Third baseman Jimmy Paredes made his major league debut after being called up from Double-A and hit a two-run triple in his first at-bat in Houston's big second inning that gave the Astros a 3-0 lead.
Carlos Lee walked in the second inning, but was thrown out at third on a single by rookie J.D. Martinez. Barmes singled before the triple by Paredes scored Martinez and Barmes to put Houston up 2-0. A double by Quintero scored Paredes to push the lead to 3-0.
Arroyo said the unfamiliarity with the lineup didn't play a role in how he pitched to the Astros.
''That inning was built around a terrible 2-2 pitch to the lefty (Paredes),'' Arroyo said. ''It was a terrible cutter that was supposed to be in, and it was middle away. Exactly where I didn't want to throw it. I'm fine with facing a lineup like that, but we couldn't get it done.''
Arroyo didn't allow another hit until Bogusevic's broken bat single with one out in the eighth inning but retired the next two Astros to end the inning.
The bases were loaded when Altuve hit a hard grounder to Brandon Phillips, who grabbed it and made a throw home from his knees. But catcher Ryan Hanigan couldn't handle the throw, allowing Humberto Quintero to score.
''I was just trying to make a play,'' Phillips said. ''I just tried to come through for the team. It sucks. It sucks. Not the play, but just losing. It sucks to lose.''
Quintero singled with no outs in the 10th inning before pinch-hitter Angel Sanchez singled to shallow center field to send Quintero to third base. Logan Ondrusek (4-4) then intentionally walked Brian Bogusevic to load the bases and bring up Altuve.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said Phillips grab of Altuve's grounder was a great play.
''That was one where I thought we were going to get the out, and then, get the double play and get out of the inning,'' Baker said. ''It's hard because the ball popped out. That's a tough way to lose it. We had some tough walk-offs, but not one like that.''
Mark Melancon (6-3) pitched the ninth and 10th for Houston, allowing just one hit for the win.
Houston starter Bud Norris tied a career high with 10 hits and allowed three runs in five-plus innings before leaving with a blister on his right middle finger.
Miguel Cairo, Joey Votto and Phillips hit consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs in the fifth inning. Jay Bruce grounded into a double play on which Cairo scored to tie it 3-all. Norris walked Yonder Alonso before escaping the jam by retiring Ryan Hanigan for the third out.
Baker lamented the Reds' missed chances.
''It came back to haunt us,'' Baker said. ''We couldn't get the big hit. They got a couple hits, but other than that one inning, Bronson threw the ball great. We wanted to give him the win, and we had a chance to when we took them out of the game, but we couldn't get the big hit. They just got a lot of singles.''
Drew Stubbs singled and stole second base in the third inning. The Reds cut Houston's lead to 3-1 with an RBI double by Votto. The hit extended his streak of extra base hits at Minute Maid Park to 11. That's the longest streak of its kind by a player at any park since former Astro Jeff Bagwell did it in 11 straight games from 1993-95 at Candlestick Park, according to statistics provided by the Reds from the Elias Sports bureau.
Phillips got Cincinnati to 3-2 with his run-scoring single to shallow center field. Phillips was caught stealing on a strikeout by Jay Bruce to allow Norris to limit the damage.
NOTES: Phillips extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games. ... Paredes is the first player in franchise history to triple in his first major league plate appearance according to statistics provided by the Astros from Elias. ... Houston OF Jordan Schafer, who was acquired on Sunday from Atlanta in the trade for Bourn, was examined by the Astros' medical staff on Monday. Schafer, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 20, was diagnosed with an injury to a joint on the middle finger of his left hand and is expected to be ready to play in the middle of August. He should be able to start swinging later this week.